Originally slated to premiere at the cancelled 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, this feature length documentary about master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick utilises archival audio recordings of the filmmaker, intercut with interviews with his collaborators.
Unbeknownst to many, Charles Aznavour’s mastery of the soul-stirring ballad – imbuing upon each composition an emphatic quality that has become synonymous with mid-twentieth century French-pop – proves but half of the tools in his storytelling repertoire.
Documenting his worldly travels throughout his illustrious career, the celebrated French-Armenian troubadour hid a wealth of archival footage that when patched together in director Marc di Domenico’s evocative documentary Aznavour by Charles, showcases the crooner’s extraordinary gift of vivid expression.
Depicted in a grainy splendour, the authenticity of which will have sentimentalists lovingly clutch onto their polaroid cameras, di Domenico opens the bonnet on ‘France’s Frank Sinatra’ and details the inner-workings of an artist whose career existed as a triumph against class, loss and racism. di Domenico doesn’t so much as catalogue Aznavour’s impressive career as offer with fine objectivity a glimpse into one of France’s – if not the world’s – most captivating artists.
Aznavour by Charles is not without recognising his tremendous musical ability, with scenes showcasing the ‘She’ singer’s transportive gift. Aznavour’s profound lyricism, bringing with it, melancholic undertones as profound as they are core-shaking, transitions into contemplative narration that ponders the thoughts and motivations behind civilian society. The effect of this adds an extra layer of dimension that recognises Aznavour’s sense of compassion and the thought-out manner where he considered the perspective of others in his work.
Aznavour by Charles measures legacy not just as a by-product of popularity, but as a measure of character and prowess. The admiring manner the filmmakers capture Aznavour’s insatiable yearning for life speaks volumes to a once-in-a-generation virtuoso who was unable to switch off his keen sense of curiosity.
The remaining members of the iconic hip hop group, Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz tell the intimate, personal story of their band and 40 years of friendship in this live documentary experience directed by their longtime friend and collaborator, and loud chewer, filmmaker Spike Jonze.
On the ground at the Australian International Documentary Conference, Cassandra Nevin speaks with the veteran documentary producer (Hoop Dreams, Stevie, A Sister's Call, Life Itself, Independent Lens, Minding the Gap, etc, etc) about what he believes are the essentials of non-fiction filmmaking.